Tuesday 3 February 2015
Worst Document / Worst Pope?
In my previous post I noted that if we see the mid-way Realtio of the 2014 Synod as “one of the worst documents in Church history”, then Francis is one step away from being “one of the worst popes in history” since it was he who approved its publication and had elements rejected by the canonical majority at the Synod retained in the reflection document for this year’s Synod. I ended the post by posing a question and making a suggestion:
Where does [this] leave the faithful Catholic? [It leaves us] Repeating with Paul: “when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Gal.2v11). Disobedience to a pope (and public challenge of him) must always be respectful because of the human dignity which belongs to the man and because of his office as Pope, but not to oppose him is to allow evil to flourish -and if that route is taken by the faithful Catholic, the faithful Catholic himself becomes unfaithful, and will stand equally condemned.
The rejected elements which Francis ordered to be retained (on the valuing of cohabitation, adultery and homosexuality) are contrary to the perennial teaching and discipline of the Church, but there are enough Bishops who follow the ‘wisdom’ of secular society and its misrepresentation of ‘Do Not Judge’ to have us recall the words of his excellency, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
“No authority, be it the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith” (Declaration of 21 Nov. 1974)
“We are faced with a crucifying dilemma: either we follow you [Rome] wholeheartedly...and appear to distance ourselves from your predecessors, or we follow your predecessors and give the impression that we are distancing ourselves from you”.
We abandon the Faith by changing doctrine; we diminish it by disciplines which play false to that doctrine. We are without doubt in a very troubled age in the Church, with Cardinals opposing Cardinals; Bishops opposing Bishops, priests opposing priests, and laity opposing laity. This indicates an informal schism yet to be made manifest in the Church. Such a schism arises because many in the hierarchy have come to the brink of cutting us off from the Church’s perennial teaching and discipline as restated in the Post-Vatican II Catechism -and all to gain acceptance by a pagan, sex-driven world.
At the very heart of this internal schism is the devil. Only he has the wickedness to turn Our Lord’s words of ‘Do Not Judge’ against the Lord’s own Gospel; only he has the cunning to take a truth and turn it into a lie. He first did this in the Garden of Eden, and men fell for it. To paraphrase: “So you were made in His image and likeness? If you eat of this tree you will be like gods; you will be enhancing His work”.
The devil is taking the same tactic today, telling us that we since we must not judge we must accommodate the sins of cohabitation, adultery and homosexual activity. Sadly, many in the Church are falling for the lie. One suspects this is from emotional import; that they know and love someone who has chosen a life contrary to the Gospel (or are living that way themselves), and rather than consider that person (or themselves) to be on the wide road to hell, have clamoured to have the Church accommodate the sin under the guise of ‘Do not judge’.
Well, even if at the Synod the Church accommodates the sin for their emotional comfort, the reality will be that the Church will have gone wrong in her discipline, thereby diminishing the Faith, and simply given false hope to persons living in situations of sin –for which those persons (and their accommodators) will be held responsible before God for having abandoned the practice of the Gospel.
Notwithstanding the fact that Francis has said and done things which have rocked the faith of many, let us not be too quick to condemn him. While he has made many regrettable statements that contradict the Church’s perennial Church teaching, and while he has failed to correct errors, and he while he has made personal phone calls sand given private invitations to transsexuals, he has not yet tried to impose an official change in our doctrine. Nor has he officially changed the perpetual practice of the Church. All he has done so far is stoke up the fires of heresy and heteropraxy in unfaithful souls and allowed them to burn. He has not yet officially sided with them. The Synod and its following Apostolic Exhortation will be his testing ground, not the discussion beforehand.
For that reason I think we should hold off from condemning of the man. Should he fail to uphold that which he received (and is duty bound to hand on uncorrupted), then we enter the period in which we must, like Paul, confront Francis and even refuse to obey counterfeit pastoral directives, for as Galatians 1:8 reminds us, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed”, and as Archbishop Lefebvre said, “No authority, be it the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith”. Let us pray for the Pope and the Synod, and let us make our views known by signing the fifialappeal.